Homo Ecologicus: Money Between Economy and Ecology

The image of Homo Economicus underpins the ubiquity of neo-classical economics, delineating the possibilities of exchange for humans conceived as rational and self-interested beings. How does growing awareness of our ecological entanglements with human and more-than-human beings invite a reimagining of our economies, societies and political systems?

Moderated by Glen Fuller, this session brings together Kamaljit Sangha, Tim Hollo, Declan Kuch, and Deborah Cleland to discuss how money, exchange and community may be re-configured through ecological alternatives. 

The session will be livestreamed  at 10:00am AEST, Friday 6th November at https://economythologies.network/. Following the event, the video recording of this session will be available for viewing on this page.

Kamaljit Sangha

Ecological Economics and Human Well-being

Ecological Economics is a trans-disciplinary field, linking ecological, economic and social sciences, to deal with modern challenges and issues to develop long-term solutions for supporting human well-being, sustainability, and justice. The common root-word, ‘Eco’ in both ecology and economics means ‘house’,  while ‘logy’ means ‘study’, and ‘nomics’ means management, i.e. management and study of the house (earth) we all live in. Ecological Economics is about understanding and developing sustainable economies where economy is a subset of the social, and even larger ecological, systems. The discipline promotes such economies beyond the traditional utilitarian economic paradigm that largely focus on growth (Gross Domestic Product). Enhancing human well-being through sustainable use, efficient allocation, and equitable distribution of resources, are the key disciplinary principles.

In this talk, Dr Sangha will provide an overview of Ecological Economics and explain how her disciplinary knowledge helps her understand Indigenous connections with nature in northern Australia.

Deb Cleland

Studiers of subsistence fishers attract funding to help the fishers “exit poverty” and not “further degrade the marine ecosystem”, through leaving their boats behind and turning to non-extractive livelihoods. What happens, then, when we turn a critical eye on the livelihood of the researcher themselves? What lexicons of lack and luck may we borrow from the fishers to explain an academic’s life’s work and our work-life? What might we learn from comparing small-scale fishers to small-scale scholars about how to successfully ‘navigate’ the casualised waters of the modern labour market?

Declan Kuch

What’s at stake in thinking about energy as money? Drawing on recent experiments in peer-to-peer energy trading spanning Australia, South America and Europe, Declan will explore how citizens, financiers and energy users are increasingly confronted with this question. Far from instrumental and singular, both money and energy are complex, multi-dimensional sites where the tensions of late capitalist social forces are visible. Declan will analyse the social, spatial and temporal dynamics emerging in these experiments to argue that the digitization of energy and money are complementary in hitherto underappreciated ways.

Tim Hollo

And the walls became the world all around
Ecology and economy, as we well know, come from the same root, oikos, meaning dwelling place. Ecology combines it with knowledge to become understanding our home, while economy combines it with rules to become household management. The difference can perhaps then lie in where and how we construct the walls of our home. Anti-ecological economics builds impervious stone walls, separating us from them, seeking to both exclude those without and extract value from those enclosed within. In an ecological economics, the walls must become permeable, moveable, changeable, like cell walls. They must become the world all around, as Max discovered in Where the Wild Things Are. This paper will discuss this approach through the prism of ideas such as commoning, cooperatives, and Universal Basic Income.